Containing COVID-19 with a two-day workweek

Figure 1. Simulations of epidemic spread show decline of infection with a schedule of 5 day lockdown and 2 work days every week. Blue regions indicate periods of lockdown. Parameters for the SIR model are R_F=2.4 and R_L=0.3, infection lifetime 1/gamma=7 days.
Figure 2. Simulations show that 3 days of lockdown are not sufficient, and infection grows exponentially, with these parameters.
Figure 3. A 2-day work week strategy eradicates COVID19. Each region shows which lockdown:work cycle provides R<1 for different work and lockdown infectivity parameters. A 2-day workweek is effective for an estimated range of COVID19 parameters (red ellipse, with work infectivity R_F=2.2–2.6 [1] and 50% error bars for lockdown infectivity R_L, which allow for about 10% noncompliance)
Figure 4. Infection is controlled for various schedules also in a more detailed simulation, a SEIR model calibrated for COVID19 [4]. In this simulation, the virus has a mean 5 day incubation period and 3 day infectious period. Longer schedules, such as 4-day work/ 10-day lockdown, show more rapid infection decline, because they allow expose individuals to cease becoming infectious before returning to work. Code for producing this figure is in:




Professor of Systems Biology at the Weizmann Institute of Science.

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Uri Alon

Uri Alon

Professor of Systems Biology at the Weizmann Institute of Science.

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